Sigma Introduces Next Generation IPTV Media Processor

Monday, April 14th, 2008
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High Performance SMP8654 Gains Widespread OEM Support by Offering a 50% Performance Boost Along With Lower Overall System Costs

LAS VEGAS — NAB2008 — Sigma Designs (Nasdaq:SIGM), a leader in digital media processing system-on-chip (SoC) solutions for consumer electronics, today announced that it has begun sampling its new SMP8654 media processor SoC, designed for the next generation of Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) set-top boxes. Product demonstrations are available at this week’s 2008 NAB Show, located in Las Vegas, April 14-17. The SMP8654 provides a 50% improvement in performance along with lower overall system costs to provide a substantially improved value proposition for the burgeoning IPTV market.

“Sigma is the clear leader in media processors for the IPTV market, shipping chipsets to nearly all the top set-top box manufacturers as well as 24 of the largest telco operators across the world,” said Ken Lowe, vice president of strategic marketing at Sigma Designs. “Our new SMP8654 represents one of the industry’s leading price/performance offerings, which is reflected in the rapid widespread adoption at many of the world’s leading set-top box manufacturers.”

Increasing Demand for IPTV Solutions

Demand for IPTV has been sweeping across the globe over the past two years, with over ten million worldwide IPTV subscribers now being serviced in Europe, North America, and Asia. During the past two years, nearly every major worldwide telco has begun offering IPTV video services, with deployments now being split between the Microsoft Mediaroom™ platform and a range of Linux based platforms. Demand in Europe has been strong for several years with the largest IPTV deployments taking place in France where Free (Illiad), Neuf, and France Telecom are jointly accounting for more than two million subscribers while Deutche Telecom in Germany pushes past the 500K subscriber level this year. In North America, AT&T is now hitting its stride with expectations of one million subscribers by the end of 2008, in addition to several smaller deployments by regional Canadian carriers. In Asia, Korea is seeing rapid expansion as both Hanaro and Korea Telecom (KT Corporation) continue their ramp, while deployments in China, Japan, and Taiwan continue to rise.

As the IPTV industry approaches mass commercialization, economic factors are beginning to take center stage. Since the set-top box is typically subsidized by the operator, as volume increases, unit costs have become a primary concern. Additionally, as the collective installations of set-top boxes represent a substantial distributed asset, their longevity or “future-proofing” are now a major consideration as the industry moves into this next phase of deployment.

SMP8654: The Next Generation IPTV SoC Solution

Sigma’s SMP8654 media processor integrates a complete complement of next-generation capabilities for a single-chip system-on-chip (SOC) solution with powerful multimedia processing, robust content security system, multiple on-chip CPUs, and a full complement of system peripherals. Its combination of on-chip processors and memory controllers yield an impressive 50% increase in overall performance to provide the headroom needed for next generation IPTV service features. At the same time, taking advantage of the latest memory components and integrated peripherals, the SMP8654 can reduce sub-system cost by around 30 percent compared to its predecessor, the industry leading SMP8634.

From a media processing standpoint, the SMP8654 offers a full complement of advanced decoder engines with high definition video decoding, including of H.264 (MPEG-4 part 10), Windows Media® Video 9, VC-1, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 (part 2), and the new AVS standard. High-performance graphics acceleration, multi-standard audio decoding, advanced display processing capabilities, and HDMI 1.3 output round out its multimedia core. Powerful content security is ensured through a dedicated secure processor, on-chip flash memory, and a range of digital rights management (DRM) engines for high-speed payload decryption. The SMP8654 also features a full complement of system peripherals, including a dual Gigabit Ethernet controller, dual USB 2.0 controller, NAND flash controller, IR controller, and SATA controller.

Taking performance to the next level is accomplished by combining significant increases in CPU speed, memory bandwidth, and architectural efficiencies. The SMP8654 is a multi-core media processor that features a 500 MHz MIPS 24k main CPU that enables crisp user interaction and a wider range of application-based features which enhance the “future-proofing” of this platform. A second MIPS processor called the IPU manages interrupt operations and offloads burdensome system tasks, such as portions of the network stack to further optimize main CPU utilization. A third MIPS processor manages all system security functions including decryption and key generation. The SMP8654 also features a new DDR-2 memory controller which supports double-data-rate memories up to 666 Mbps as well as an improved arbitration engine to maximize the efficiency of accesses. Finally, the SMP8654 maintains software compatibility with the Sigma Multimedia Library to uniquely build on the proven performance and reliability of the earlier generation platforms.

Set-top Box Manufacturers around the World Endorse the SMP8654

As a demonstration of the clear market leadership in the IPTV industry, Sigma’s SMP8654 has received endorsements from many of the world’s largest set-top box providers, including:

“Moving ahead, we intend to capture an increasing portion of the untapped potential for IPTV deployments around the world,” said Hong Lu, CEO of UT Starcom, Inc. “Towards this goal, we are using industry leading technologies, such as the new generation of SMP8654 media processors from Sigma Designs to create a new line of powerful yet cost-effective set-top boxes.”

“Today’s IPTV based set-top box needs a fully integrated chipset solution with all the advanced codecs, high performance CPU, system peripherals, and integral security as well as a robust software suite for efficient programming,” said Chi Chang, general manager, Tatung Connected Device Business Unit. “Sigma’s SMP8654 provides these capabilities and reflects their in-depth knowledge of what we need as we move into the next generation.”

“We continue to demonstrate our technology leadership by providing innovative products that offer industry leading features,” said Marc Bury, head of innovation for Netgem. “Sigma’s new SMP8654 media processor will enable us to take the next step and provide the level of performance needed for the next wave of IPTV set-top boxes.”

“We focus on designing technologically advanced set-top boxes that enable telco carriers to become leading IPTV service providers,” said Kim Young-min, CEO of Celrun. “We are excited to tap into the power and flexibility of Sigma’s SMP8654 as we move into our next generation of set-top boxes.”


The SMP8654 media processor will be sold through Sigma’s direct sales force. Samples of the SMP8654 are available immediately.